Headlines: June 29th, 1998

The Secretary of State for Education, David Blunkett, has told senior managers in local government that they should take the lead in forging a new role for themselves.

He told the annual conference of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives that they could not expect to wait until national Government outlined the role – but seize the opportunity to switch from being service driven to community leadership.

Mr Blunkett, a former council leader, said: “We are at the edge of constitutional change. It’s a challenging and insecure time for everybody involved. The best way of taking on this challenge is for local government to carve out its clear role in a new century not to wait for us in Government to do it.”

He said the role of the chief executive of a local authority was to play an inclusive role, involving other sectors and departments.

This meant working to end divisions between departments and within divisions of the same department.